Nov 13, 2019

Plum Shio Kombu Pickled Pak Choi Stems and Cucumbers (淡漬梅塩昆布小白菜梗)

On top of my beloved shio kombu, during my last trip to Japan, I also bought two packs of ume/plum flavored shio kombu. Instead of salty and umami flavors, the plum version comes with extra sweet and sour touch, should be great for a light pickle. And here it is, my first try using plum shio kombu.

Plum shio kombu pickled pak choy stems and cucumbers -


  • 2 loosely packed cups pak choi stems
  • 1 long/skinny cucumber
  • 1/2 cup ume shio kombu 梅塩昆布
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar


Separate the leafy part and the stem part for the pak choi. Cut the stems into about 2-inch long sections. This recipe only uses the stems, its crunchy texture can take on a light pickle. The leaves on the other hand, might turn soggy and too soft for such prepping method. Perhaps save the leaves for other stir-fry dishes instead.

Prepare a medium pot of water and transfer sectioned stems over. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Drain and wait till the stems cool off.

Julienne the cucumber, doesn't matter peeling or not. Mix together with cooked stems.

Mix in 1 teaspoon of white sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup of plum shio kombu. Give it a gentle mix, perhaps with few gentle squeezes to release the flavors from plum shio kombu. 

Transfer to the fridge and chill for about 30 minutes, serve as a cold side dish.

No salt was added to this light pickle since plum shio kombu was already salted. 

Try to keep this dish light and refreshing, so that mild sweet and sour flavors can shine through.

Other shio kombu recipes:

Nov 7, 2019

It Doesn't Have to be Spring to Enjoy Pasta Primavera

Primavera means "spring" in Italian, but it doesn't mean that such dish can only be enjoyed during spring time. The easiest way to put up this dish is to incorporate whatever in-season veggies and turn them into a colorful meal. On top of that, never forget to top with some grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano

Pasta primavera -

Ingredients (about 5 to 6 portions)?

  • 1 pack/500 grams lemon-infused liguine
  • 4 loose cups Brussels sprouts
  • 3 loose cups colorful cherry tomatoes
  • 25 deveined/peeled shrimps
  • 70 grams garden peas
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lime
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Some grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Some salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


It's not necessary to follow exactly what have been listed on the ingredients. For instance, I would prefer to incorporate yellow lemon and use regular pasta for this dish. However, I couldn't get a hold of yellow lemon, but luckily, I found lemon-infused pasta at the grocery store. Sometimes improvising what you've got at the time can turn into even greater result.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in few pinches of salt. Cook the pasta till almost al dente. Towards the end, also add in garden peas to cook together with the pasta. Once ready, drain and set aside for later use.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimps. Trim and halve the Brussels sprouts. Halve the tomatoes. Peel and dice onion. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Zest then juice the lime.

Use a big pan or a big pot, drizzle some olive oil and turn to medium high heat. Add in chopped onion, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook till the onion turns slightly translucent then add in chopped garlic. Cook till aromatic but not burning the garlic.

Transfer Brussels sprouts over and cook for about 2 minutes. 

Add in halved tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add in butterflied shrimps along with 1 tablespoon of lime juice, lime zest, 1 teaspoon of dried mixed Italian herbs, 1 teaspoon of salt, and heavy whipping cream. Give it a mix. Taste and see if need more seasonings.

Transfer drained pasta and garden peas to the mixture. Mix till combined. The pasta will finish cooking and reach al dente texture here.

Plate and grate some aged Parmigiano-Reggiano right before serving.

Other ideal ingredients including broccoli, asparagus, and bell pepper. Something colorful, something you like, then it'll be your own colorful creations in one plate.

Other pasta recipes: